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Tame the email kobold

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Do you have a love and hate relationship with email? I love this practical tool and really don’t know how I would manage if email disappeared tomorrow. Having an inbox bursting with new messages however gave me a daylight nightmare just about every day.

I set out to tame the email kobold a few weeks ago. Yes, I listened to experts, read the blogs and asked friends to get a potpourri of ideas of what works for others. As I don’t believe in mindless copying of methods that work for somebody else, I designed my own system taking the tips that I thought would work for me.  Since then it is trial and error. 

I set up 4 separate email accounts for different “audiences”:

  • my business and clients, 
  • family and friends,
  • social media
  • and for the newsletters I subscribe to.

In all the 4 email accounts I created folders. All the email I get is automatically sorted into folders by Hotmail. (I made Hotmail my personal VA if you like). This way when I open my account I have a very good overview of what awaits me. Plus I don’t have to check all my folders every day. Some folders I will check once a week or only when I have a few extra minutes.

For example in my business account I have folders for clients, prospects, JV partners, mentors, and my mastermind groups. I created folders for my financials and gather the online invoices and receipts there. Aweber merited a separate folder as I love to see the number of new subscribers I get every day. 

Having my social media notifications in one account helped me a lot in keeping my focus on the important things. I’ve got very good at checking my social media email account only once a day. I have separate folders for all major social networks; I keep only the set-up emails and delete the rest. I check social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, e.g.) only once a day. The only exception is Twitter – I love to check what is going on in the world and use Twitter as my personal news agency.

The area that still gives me headaches is my newsletter subscriptions account. Depending on how busy I am, 2-3 days could go by until I check in there. And of course I began unsubscribing from newsletters that were not supporting me anymore.

What makes my system work?

  1. Having separate email addresses with the same email provider. All my 4 accounts are connected in Hotmail so switching among them is a breeze
  2. Email accounts for my distinct “audiences”. No chance for incoming emails to go unnoticed from the people I really want to hear from e.g. clients, partners, family, etc.
  3. Incoming mail is automatically sorted into folders. This is the most important success factor!  Using this awesome feature enables me to check the most important folders immediately and ignore some folders if I wish to.


There is one folder that I have in all my email accounts. Can you guess what it is? Please share your guesses in the comment section. Next week I will post the name of the folder with the reasons why you will want to create one of those secret folders, too.


Categories : Productivity Boost
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